Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yet Another Biking Perk!

Bob and I recently bike to the Coconino County Fair.  The fair grounds are only about a mile from our house and we understood people on bikes got a dollar off the price of admission.   To our surprise the gentleman at the bike valet area gave us a ticket for free.  Yes, bike riders got in free on Labor Day!  Whoo-hoo!!! 

Approximately 250 attendees on bikes received a free ticket.

We celebrated at this ice cream stand!  Yummy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Not to Wear on a Bike

I get asked from time to time what kind of clothes are best for bike commuting.  I suppose I get asked this question because of my penchant for wearing high heels while biking in a mountain town where fancy shoes are more likely to be Teva sandals.  I really don't know if there is a right kind of dress for riding a bike.  Isn't it just what feels good to you the bike rider?  Is there anything one should just definitely not wear while riding a bike?  Perhaps, for me, it's running tights.  Once, while pedaling downtown and wearing running tights I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirrored window.  Ooh, not a pleasant memory.  Time to switch gears.

So anyway, it's finally sweater weather (although I'm always cold here so I pretty much always have a sweater on) and I've recently found some nice sweaters at the JCrew and the Banana outlets.  I love empire waistlines and this sweater from JCrew has one that ties in the middle.  Some people might find it too dressy for a bike but, for me, dressing up a bit makes riding a bike just a little more fun. 

I suppose pearls could be considered a bit much for a bike ride . . . . but these are faux pearls that belonged to my late Grandmother Geer.  Faux pearls are probably fine on a bike.  I love them and wear them all the time.  They are very heavy and just a little cold.  My mother-in-law recently gave me this amethyst pendant, which she thought would look quite nice on a strand of (faux) pearls.  You don't see pearls (real or faux) very often in Flagstaff but if wearing some makes you feel good and you have some and you have a bike, I see no reason why you (male or female) shouldn't enjoy them together.   I might have initially sold my VW Beetle and started bike commuting in order to economize but there is no reason why I should spend a second of my time feeling deprived (especially when I'm not particularly deprived in the first place).  Riding my bike while wearing my favorite, prettiest clothes, whether they come from the Talbots or Target, connects me with my inner-French girl.  She doesn't really care what anyone thinks and won't let me feel sorry for myself for very long.  

So do you have anything that you think you probably shouldn't wear on a bike but do anyway because of how it makes you feel?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Post Summer of (Bike) Love Post

The Planner Guy laments being a married, middle aged guy who spends his Saturday evenings listening to Prairie Home Companion on NPR.  However, I like to point out that immediately  (and without prompting from me) upon tickets for Garrison Keiller's Summer of Love Tour tickets going on sale, Bob purchased two!  You have to admit, enjoying a live show of Prairie Home Companion on a late summer evening under the stars with the one you love upon a cozy blanket with wine, cheese, crackers and hummus is not too bad a trade off for being middle aged.

Of course, we traveled to Pine Mountain Amphitheater by bike . . . .

and snapped some portraits of each other in the sunflower covered open space near our house.

Apparently, a lot of other people thought traveling by bike to an outdoor show was a pretty nifty idea, too.  Several of them seemed to be partaking in a pre-show cocktail hours set up near one of the bike rack areas.   Also a nifty idea.

The snacks.

The crowd.

The show.

A wonderful evening.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bike and Play, the Ranger Way

Bob and I snapped some pics at this evening Ranger Ride.  Good brew and a fun ride on city streets on a pleasant evening with friends.

We met at Granny's, where tall glasses of Ranger India Pale Ale didn't stay full for long.

Dee, a Ranger Ride regular, knows how to pair leggings with a cute dress for fun after bike style.

Ray's aqua 3-speed baby.  Of course, I'm having some bike envy.

We stopped to collect CJ and his little buddy at his newly opened bike shop Revolution Bicycles.

And away we go, bells a ringing and dinging . . . .

Some Lycra clad bicycle racing dudes poking along behind us at the stop light . . . they actually look at lot better in Lycra than I would.

On our way home, we cut through a couple of parking lots and came upon this shrine at historic Our Lady of Guadalupe chapel.

 We've always wanted to get a closer look but usually only pass it while in our car - and we all know how inconvenient stopping in a car can be.

Old Favorites in Fashion

I keep returning to the same wardrobe staples again and again.  Here I am, just before pedaling off to work, in this morning's outfit.  I've never felt more pulled together on my bike.  Three favorite pieces from JCrew.  Reminiscent of a cut my grandmother might have worn at my age, my familiar mustard yellow swing jacket from 2009; Audrey Hepburn inspired City Fit capris ( always in low rise) from 2007; a French sailor tee from this year.  With friends like these in my closet getting dressed this morning was a cinch.  It was with great relief this week when I heard a brief report on NPR making the return of preppy style after years reality TV "sleaze" fashion.  Oh, hurray!  I won't be wearing any Lilly Pultzer prints on my Breezer or carrying a Vera Bradley designed pannier but I do hope to replenish my wardrobe with classic, easy to wear, pretty clothes that never really go out of style. 

And, of course I really do ride my bike in those heels.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Night on a New Bike

The Planner Guy rolled out on his new wheels last Friday for with a trip downtown for the first Friday Art Walk.  Bob's bike was all the art we needed, so handsome and perfectly designed so we skipped the art and pedaled straight to the Tinderbox on South San Francisco for a drink and appetizers in the new bar area they recently opened.  Once again we devoured the edibles before I thought to get a photo. Bad blogger!

Here they are, his and hers Breezer Uptown 8s locked to a new tree-planter (aka:  bike rack) just placed on the sidewalk as part of the Southside Streetscape project (love it!).

And here is handsome Bob, outfitted in a Columbia shirt and JCrew denium in a perfect combination of mountain town dressed up and updated prep (yes, NPR just announced this morning that preppy style is replacing reality TV sleaze . . . thank God!). 

And here I am, wearing a JCrew floral scarf gifted to me by my sweet mother-in-law.  Thanks, Mama C!

After Tinderbox we pedaled to the north side of the tracks for more drinks at one of my favorite bars, Rendevous.  My drink of choice during the warm months is the Sexy Lemon - a delicious and refreshing as it sounds.  I should have remember to ask the bartender to pour it a bit weaker for me since I am quite a lightweight.  Catching a buzz might sound fun but whether in a car or on a bike, it can be a dangerous so I just stuck to one cocktail and made it home safely.

I always enjoy a boisterous downtown night and with the return of students at Northern Arizona University, the streets and sidewalks were packed with youthful energy.   By the time we left Rendevous we saw bikes locked up on every bike rack, fence, bench and sign pole, and we shared the road with bicycling hipsters out to see and be seen. 

Oh, the fashions!  For the most part, I tried to focus my attention on enjoying the evening with my husband but when the 20-something woman in the light trapeze dress, textured leggings and feathered cloche passed us on Phoenix Avenue on a stylish, diamond frame road bike I tempted to morph into the crazy woman with the camera and chase her down for a night time shot. 

A good photographer is always ready and though I managed to get a picture of this couple locking up on North San Francisco, I wasn't quick enough to capture the smart looking plaid double-breasted car coat this young woman was wearing.  Oh, well, hopefully the injection of fashion conscious college students on bikes will catch on with more of the local population.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A New Bike, A New Man

Here is Bob recreating a recent layout from the latest JCrew catelog in response to his first ride on his new mens Breezer Uptown 8. 

The secret to a great ride is often found in a really good bike fitting, provided last Thursday at Absolute Bikes.

Bob and I are a little weirded out about having his and hers Breezers but its a great bike, and I can't deny my husband the opportunity to take advantage of a timely sale.  Bob is excited about the LED lighting system, which provides an exceptionally well illuminated night time ride, as well as the chainguard, keeping his pant leg neat and grease-free.   The Schwinn Jet Star will remain with us, this time as Bob's old reliable beater bike.

And here is Bob again; the professional Planner Guy with his very smart and sophisticated Town Bike.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moms, Masdens and That First Big Girl Bike . . . .

've been away from the blog for a couple of weeks helping the Planner Guy with a project and then away on a visit with family in Kentucky.  Now I'm back and ready to hunker down to some writing and catching up on my favorite bike blogs.

On a recent trip to the Flagstaff Community Market with my friend Gail, we ran into our co-worker April admiring this lovely Masden cargo bike parked next to the Regional Plan public comment booth.  Gail and I stopped by the booth after Bob, my husband and Regional Planner Guy, called me to give me the heads up on the Masden sighting.  The Community Market it always, always a prime sunday biking destination but I've never seen a Masden in Flag so hurried on down for peak.

Here moms-on-the-go April and Gail admired the Masden's roomy interior and seating capacity.  April is a regular bike commuter to City Hall where she works as the Brownsfields Manager, but Gail has only recently been considering using a bike for weekend errands and excursions with her baby girl, Sydney.  Gail and her husband have acquired a baby hauler for his bike.  Gail would like to be able to bike with Sydney when her husband is unavailable, and I could see she was trying to imagine what it would be like to carry her little girl around in a Masden-style bike in a few year.

Soon the owner of the Masden had returned with her market purchases and little boys in tow.  Mom said she loves her Masden and her young sons were eager to get started on their trip home.

Besides the Flagstaff Community Market, the point of my trip downtown with Gail was to look at a possible bike purchase.  Only at the beginning of her bike search, Gail is still trying to figure out what type of bike she needs for the long run.  At this point, she doesn't think she's likely to own a fleet of bikes like many of her Flag neighbors but is instead looking for a single bike for trail and street, that will allow her to enjoy recreational biking with Sydney as she gets older and begins riding herself.

Lately, I've been asked by several women for advise on buying a bike.  They know they'd like to start riding again for enjoyment, exercise and weekend trips downtown for lunch (it's a start) but confess to being a little intimiated by bike shop staff and overwhelmed with the variety of bikes to choose from.

I can appreciate feeling intimidated in a bike shop and hearing all the bike jargon.  It's pretty much how I feel whenever I have to visit the computer department in Best Buy.   All I know is what I want my computer to do and what do I need to get it there.  I can learn the details later.  A bike purchase is not much different.  For this reasonm I recommend identifying what function you want your bike to serve.  My primary goal when I purchased by Specialized Expedition was to find functional and comfortable transportation to work and errands.  My prospective bike would travel on both road and potentially graveled or rocky trail.  I wanted to look clean and presentable when I arrived at work, and be able to carry personal and work items as needed.  Speed was not a goal, I wanted to avoid unnecessary pressure on my wrists or strain on my lower back.

I put considerable thought into my bike purchase and believe it is worth taking the time to do so, expecially if one plans on spending more that $400.  When my cousin Angie, recently asked my advise on her pending bike purchase, I asked her to consider the above questions and encouraged her to test a variety of bikes she liked since the coolest, most attractive bike isn't necessarily the one the serves the main purpose of the ride.  I explained to Angie, and later to Gail, that I preferred an upright seating position in order to see and be seen by car drivers.  I told them that for me the step through frame felt the easist to manage at traffic lights and while wearing a skirt, and it is certainly the easist to get on and off of in a hurry if needed.   Both Gail and Angie have since identified a couple of bikes that interest them and are taking their time making a decision.  Gail is testing a couple of models to help her narrow down her needs and preferences, which I think is a smart move.  I can't wait to see what she settles on and look forward to having a bike riding friend for trips to Macy's European Coffee House on the weekends.

Here's Gail recently at Absolute Bikes getting to know the Globe Carmel.  Not wanting to influence her decision, I didn't mention how great her bag looks with the shiny black Carmel!